The term ‘Asperger Syndrome’ is a neurobiological disorder characterized by developmental disabilities. This disorder is also widely recognized by the name of autism spectrum disorder or ASD.It is characterized by range of developmental disabilities. People with this kind of disorder have problems lack desire to interact with peers , may have socially and emotionally inappropriate behaviour, and generally have repetitive routine. It is also sometimes found that the person affected by ADS has some speech and language peculiarities.
AS was discovered in 1944 by Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician .He first described it as a personality disorder referring it as a psychopathy in the childhood. Later in 1980’s autistic psychopathy was recognized as a single disorder known as Asperger’s syndrome, named after Hans Asperger. But till this date researchers fail to clear the doubt between Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autism. Because people with AS share the many symptoms of the high functioning autism. As a result identifying Asperger’s syndrome as a single domain remains in question .therefore pathologists are still struggling to find the exact cause of this syndrome.
Of all the autism spectrum disorders like pervasive developmental disorder(PDD), phenotype(BAP), etc, Asperger’s syndrome has similar symptoms of autism. AS is marked by poor social interactions, odd speech patterns and peculiar way of carrying oneself with the same routine and have resistance to change. It is also noted that people having this syndrome lack motor co-ordination. They are usually clumsy, shabbily dressed and fail to understand other’s body language and facial expressions. They are also unable to emote their feelings and therefore fail to make much friends. And since the usual onset of Asperger’s syndrome is during childhood, therefore the habits once formed last forever.
The signs and symptoms present in a person with AS can broadly be classified as under
those with AS experience failure in establishing life long relationships .this results due to their poor social interaction. They lack showing empathy towards others. They are not keen to share their experiences with others. They do not involve themselves into situations and are happy if left at their own. They fail to recognize the societal norms and accepted behaviour.Therefore they are unable to fit in the society. They exhibit strange behavior towards others like giving weird facial expressions ,non-smiling face and use of pedantic language. They indulge in one sided conversations and therefore are not good listeners.
Restricted concern and conduct
Another common symptom in AS patients is their inflexibility regarding their interests and behavior. They follow their own set routine and seldom allow any change. They follow their routine religiously. Any change in their routine can make them violent as reported in some cases. They like to keep their things arranged and any slight change makes them throw tantrums or send them into wailings .they form special interest in any subject and usually excel in it. But they may fail in other subjects if not of their interest. Patients of AS have strong rote memorization but lack in abstract comprehension. An additional symptom in some cases is of repeated motor mannerisms. These mannerisms include hand or finger flapping, rocking, spinning, jumping etc.
Those with Asperger syndrome might not have any delay in language formation but they do encounter problems while using correct words in the correct context. They are quite familiar with wide and new words but lack the sensibility to use them. They interpret the words according to their will. They are unable to note the elusive differences in accent ,tone and pitch. The most peculiar feature about their oral communication is their use of ornamental language. Their sentences are often laden with pedantic words as if quoting from a book. They are unable to sustain other people’s interest in their conversation due to lack of correct intonation and their tendency to jump one topic to another like drop of a hat.
People with AS often relate their problems with their sensory experiences i.e. experiences related to the senses of touch,smell,hear and seeing. Another symptoms identified in some cases are attention difficulties and sleep problems.
Causes of Asperger’s syndrome –
Many researchers believe heredity to be the main cause of this disorder while some suggest mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorder to be associated with AS. Some research in AS cases have led researchers to associate birth defects with the syndrome. Some are also looking at environmental factors as a possible cause to Asperger’s Syndrome.
Although pathologists are still trying to distinguish AS from ASD ,yet some findings determine a different mechanism of AS from ASD.Neuroanatomical studies suggest that the AS’s mechanism involves some abnormal migration of embryonic cell during the conception of a fetus ,resulting in the alteration of control thought and behavior in the later stage.